Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis - inflammatory bowel disease.
This research was completed on 30 June 2008
|Project Leader||Dr Johan Van Limbergen|
|Location||Gastrointestinal Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh|
|Grant awarded||22 April 2005|
|Start date||1 July 2005|
|End date||30 June 2008|
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Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) estimated to affect as many as 1 in 200 people in the UK. The number of children affected continues to rise, and the incidence in Scottish children is amongst the highest in the world. Symptoms of IBD include weight loss, diarrhoea and abdominal pain and can be especially severe in young people. Education, employment, growth, sexual development and psychological well being are all affected by IBD. Research into the causes of IBD has shown that both inherited (genetic) and environmental factors are likely to be involved. However, early results suggest that different genes seem to be involved in IBD sufferers from Scotland than in sufferers from the rest of Britain. Using a large collection of samples donated by patients in Scotland, Dr Van Limbergen will investigate the importance of a number of genes which may determine susceptibility, severity and age of onset in IBD. It is anticipated that this work will lead to the identification of new genes involved in the development of IBD. A better understanding of the complex interactions between genetics and environment could identify new possibilities for treatment. Current treatment is variable but often involves surgery or drugs which reduce the body's ability to fight off infections. Improved understanding of the specific genetic and environmental factors involved in the development of IBD may help doctors tailor specific treatment to the individual patient. It is also hoped that the results of this research will be beneficial in the counselling of children and their families with a diagnosis of IBD.